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MJPIA

Does anyone know anything about the capabilities of Des Moines main battery against aircraft?

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Because info is very sparse but they were seemingly fully capable of engaging targets both on the sea and in the sky.
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It'd be one thing if it were just a claim made in the popular mechanics magazine but that's a US navy film from the 40's and I'd expect them to know what they are talking about.


I don't know if it was because she came about just at the rise of the jet age but asides from snippets here and there is next to no info on their use against aircraft, no tests or anything I can find, just how they could engage both ground and air based targets.
Info is so sparse that literally the most info I've seen is just a small blurb on Navweaps.

 

  1. HC projectile bodies could be used with Point Detonating (PD) or Mechanical Time (MT) fuzes. When used with PD fuzes, they were considered to be HC rounds. When used with MT fuzes, they were considered to be AAC rounds. Automatic MT fuze setting was performed just before the shells were rammed, thus ensuring the minimum possible dead time.

 

 

So all I have is just raw numbers I've put together not on how effective it was since I can't find anything on that but what it could chuck compared to the 5/38.
The 8/55 Mk16 was capable of 10 rounds per minute.
The DM's HC shell was 260 lbs of which 21 lbs was explosive filler so every minute each barrel could throw up 2390 lbs of metal fragments in the path of aircraft times 9 for a total of 21,510 lbs per minute.

The 5/38 fired a 55lb shell with 7-8lbs of explosive filler with a 16-22 RPM firing rate so at the max 22 RPM one barrel could put 1056lbs of metal in the path of aircraft times 12 (including all 6 mounts since AA works like a bubble with no gun mount firing restrictions in the game) for a total of 12,675 lbs of metal in the sky.
At 16RPM it drops to 9,216 lbs.

The 5/38 has the advantage of VT fuses but the Des Moines would be engaging planes at ranges where they would likely be flying in a straight line and the autoloader sets the fuse right before ramming plus she would put so much more metal in the sky compensating for the lack of VT fuses to some degree.
DM turrets also are only capable of +41 degrees whereas the 5/38 and most AA mounts can elevate to +85 as well as a 5 degree a second train rate compared to 25 on the 5/38 limiting the zone and range they probably could engage aircraft in.

 

No its unlikely it'll ever be added but lets pretend for a second they did, given the very limited info we have on the 8/55 mk 16's AA abilities just what sort of range and DPS do you think it would end up with?

 

If anyone has any info at all about the 8/55 mk16's anti aircraft capabilities I'd be interested in hearing about it.

There's gotta be more info about it somewhere.

Anyone know anything more?

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The Des Moines' guns were simply not capable of any sort effective AA ability. They couldn't elevate the guns high enough, nor train / elevate the guns fast enough. Simply look at the mount and turret data of the 8" /55 Mk 16 and the 8" /55 Mk 71 to see why. http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_Main.php

 

Technically speaking you could have sailors stand on the deck of a ship and fire rifles at aircraft, but doesn't mean it will have any sort of effect. There's not much pretending they simply were not capable AA guns. 

 

Many Japanese guns also supposedly had AA ability with their san-shiki beehive rounds. But they were a completely useless. They were terrible at AA duty for the same exact reason the Des Moines' guns; lack of elevation angle and training / elevation rate to properly track aircraft.

Edited by Phaere

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The Des Moines' guns were simply not capable of any sort effective AA ability. They couldn't elevate the guns high enough, nor train / elevate the guns fast enough. Simply look at the mount and turret data of the 8" /55 Mk 16 and the 8" /55 Mk 71 to see why. http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_Main.php

 

Technically speaking you could have sailors stand on the deck of a ship and fire rifles at aircraft, but doesn't mean it will have any sort of effect. There's not much pretending they simply were not capable AA guns. 

 

Many Japanese guns also supposedly had AA ability with their san-shiki beehive rounds. But they were a completely useless. They were terrible at AA duty for the same exact reason the Des Moines' guns; lack of elevation angle and training / elevation rate to properly track aircraft.

I'm aware of the elevation issues and I had my doubts as well which is why I mentioned that in my post and I have my doubts as well but its mentioned all over the place but never in much detail.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1949/02/13/page/69/article/mightiest-cruiser-of-them-all

The 8/55 mk manual does directly mention its AA abilities.

https://archive.hnsa.org/doc/cagun/part2.htm

 There are eight principal variations of these basic methods of control. They are turret fire control selections identified by the following terms:

PRIMARY SURFACE CONTROL
PRIMARY AA CONTROL
SECONDARY SURFACE CONTROL
SECONDARY AA CONTROL
LOCAL RADAR CONTROL
LOCAL SIGHT CONTROL
HI-TURRET CONTROL
HAND (EMERGENCY) CONTROL

PRIMARY SURFACE CONTROL is a remote control method employed against surface targets. It is turret control by a main director in combination with main plotting room equipment. It has two variants: "automatic" and "indicating." In the automatic variation, the turret is controlled without crew assistance. The other directs the crew in "follow-the-pointer" operation. In both variants, the guns are fired by remote switch at the controlling director.

PRIMARY AA CONTROL is a remote control method employed against air-borne targets. It is turret control by a main director in combination with main plotting room equipment. It includes "automatic" and "indicating" variations as in Primary Surface Control. In both variations, it provides automatic fuze setting. In Primary AA Control, all guns are fired by remote switch at the Controlling director.

SECONDARY SURFACE CONTROL is a remote control method that is identical to Primary Surface Control, except for the controlling director. It employs a secondary battery director in combination with main plotting room equipment, routing signals via secondary plot.

SECONDARY AA CONTROL is a remote control method that is identical to Primary AA Control except for the controlling director. It employs a secondary battery director in combination with main plotting room equipment, routing signals via secondary plot.

LOCAL RADAR CONTROL iS a local control method available to turrets II and III, for use against a surface target. It is independent turret control, deriving target bearing and range by turret radar equipment. It controls the turret train drive in automatic operation, and the gun laying drives in pointer target sighting control. It fires all guns by a designated local switch.

LOCAL SIGHT CONTROL is a local control method available to all turrets for use against surface targets. It is independent turret control, deriving target bearing and range by any available telephone communication or by visual estimate, locally. It controls turret train and gun laying by target sighting control. It fires all guns by designated local switch or switches.

HAND (EMERGENCY) CONTROL is a local control method available to all turrets for use against surface targets. It is independent gun laying control. It derives target bearing and range by any available communication or locally by visual estimate. It controls turret train by target sighting control. It controls gun laying by separate control of each elevating drive. It fires all guns by pointer target sighting control.

HI-TURRET CONTROL is a remote control method for controlling turret I against a surface target. It provides "automatic" or "indicating" control of turret I by gun order transmission from turret II; turret II transmits these orders automatically while operating in Local Radar Control. It requires supplementary telephone transmission of sight and parallax data. Hi-Turret Control is an approximation of Primary Surface Control.

 And given how advanced the Des Moines guns and fire control systems were I would assume it worked much better than the Japanese fireworks shows but this brings me back to where I am where I still can't find much about them.

There must be test reports about its anti aircraft capabilities somewhere.

It may have performed poorly or done great but had its AA capabilities eclipsed by the advent of the jet age, I don't know cause I can't find anything.

 

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I remember reading about their potential AA capability somewhere.  There is a world of a difference between the Des Moines' proximity fuses and the Japanese BBs firing san-shiki though.  There are a lot of reasons why the san-shiki  rounds failed. Those things had to be manually loaded, the altitude fuses set manually and the guns fired manually. All this from turrets which were comically slow to traverse and elevate.

 

Des Moines fired proximity shells that were auto-loaded, detonated by radar and used advanced targeting radars to aim. The turret also traversed fairly quickly for an 8" gun. She probably could engage the aircraft that existed when she was conceived, but I suspect  as MJPIA said, the jet age did that idea in. By the time the ships entered service it was nearly 1950 and you are looking at fast jets and missiles. Guns for AA are pretty much on the way out in favor of defensive missiles until fully automated systems make a reappearance in the late 70s to 80s.

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